© Carl Martin Johnson, All rights reserved

IF YOU SEE MARY
By Carl Martin Johnson

Tell me if you see Mary.
I want to say hello.
She did me a great favor
Not so long ago.

She took me in when I was dying,
And brought me back to health.
She did it out of kindness,
For I am not a man of wealth.

The poppy had seduced me.
I guess my will’s not strong.
I wouldn’t be alive now,
Had not Mary come along.

She fed me and she nursed me.
She gave me will to live.
I wish there were more like Mary,
Who only live to give.

So if you meet Mary,
Tell her that I’m whole.
Give her my regards.
Mary saved my soul.

____________________________________________

THE DEVIL’S WATER
By Carl Martin Johnson

Life was fast, and I was young.
My soul was getting hotter.
I took relief from whence it sprung,
Baptized in the Devil’s water.

I spent my days where Satan sleeps.
My nights in the demons’ playground.
Judge a man by the company he keeps,
It was evil that I stayed around.

Sin was my best and constant friend.
We were never far apart.
We swore loyalty to the end.
I gave in to my wanton heart.

Now time has come to pay the fee.
My soul must face the slaughter
That comes to all sinners like me
Who drink the Devil’s water.

____________________________________________

SEE THEM IN MY EYES
By Carl Martin Johnson

Look into my eyes,
See the dead march by.
Was I brought their demise,
I caused each one to die.

They make a playground of my mind.
My memory they own.
I never know what scenes I’ll find.
They decide what I’ll be shown.

I see my bullets tear
Past their rifles and their knives.
Ripping flesh beyond repair,
Slicing short their youthful lives.

Now I am their friend.
They seldom leave my side
We all reach the same end.
There is nowhere we can hide.

They say they do not hate me,
For I have set them free,
Their camaraderie awaits me
In warriors‘ graves for eternity.

____________________________________________  


CHASING SUNSET
By Carl Martin Johnson

Yesterday I chased the sun
It escaped behind a hill.
I think I could have won,
But I didn’t have the will.

Had I caught it, I’d be master
Of the time of night and day.
I really could have run faster,
But there would’ve been a price to pay.

I would not be free..
My life would not be my own.
What I used to be
Would have changed, have grown.

And it is not yet time.
I have more to learn.
I am not yet in my prime.
More wisdom I must earn.

Once I change to god from man,
There is no returning.
I must enjoy now while I can,
Before I set my bridges burning.

____________________________________________

THE BLINKING LIGHT
By Carl Martin Johnson

The yellow light coughs, off and on,
Like a sickly, dying star.
It will soon be gone.
I’ll still be very far.

I am many miles away.
With dawn the light will die.
I think I can yet make my way.
At least I’m going to try.

My heart’s pictures of the prairie home
Way out there across the plain,
Make me wonder why I need to roam.
I swear I won’t again.

I feel the blizzard growing.
Not long before it hits.
Likely be a heavy snowing.
And my coat is torn to bits.

But, if I can keep my eyes glued
On that weakly blinking light,
Without coat, water or food,
I will make it through the night.

____________________________________________

 

HERE
By Carl Martin Johnson

I think that I am here.
But maybe I am not.
Sometimes I truly fear
I’m a thought that God forgot.

____________________________________________

MY RECENT DEATH
By Carl Martin Johnson

It has only been an hour or so
Since my earthly demise.
But the service here seems very slow.
(Though to complain might not be wise.)

I can’t gripe about my dyin’.
Anyway, ain’t no one to grieve.
My killer fairly caught me tryin’
To pull that ace from up my sleeve.

Then I got here and things slowed down.
I’m in a sort o’ waitin’ room.
I was met by some fellow with a frown,
On a face that looked like doom.

He made me sit, then walked away.
Here I’ve sat since then.
Here, I reckon, I’ll have to stay,
‘Til he comes back again.

They’ve been arguin’ since I got here.
Some kind of angels, can’t be certain.
Their words are not particular’ clear
From back o’ that misty curtain.

It’s me they’re arguin’ about.
Tryin’ to decide where I should go.
From time to time I hear a shout.
Must want me lots, you know.

Wait! Now I hear kind o’ clearly.
Yep, it’s me that caused the fight.
But about the reason, I wasn’t noways
Close to being right.

I heard Satan tell St Peter,
I heard him say it plain.
“I don’t want that poker cheater
Corrupting my domain.”

St Peter said to Satan
“I sure as hell won’t take him in!
Far as I’m concerned he’ll just stay waitin’.
He’s too damned full of sin!”

Looks like I’ll live forever then,
Since no one wants my soul.
Maybe my life of reg’lar sin
Was a good thing, on the whole.”

____________________________________________

THE SHOOTIST
By Carl Martin Johnson

He had always pushed luck hard.
Now it had run out.
He’d soon be in some graveyard
No one knew or cared about.

He would finish where he’d started,
In a town with streets of dirt,
His estate when he departed
Would be a six-gun and spare shirt.

The pain was getting stronger.
Most nights he could not sleep.
It could not be borne much longer.
It was reaching far too deep.

In his day he had known fame.
Saloons kept his favorite whiskey.
There’d been many towns to tame.
Life had been good, but risky.

Young ladies sent him smiles.
He was a hero to young men.
People would travel miles
To see his duels way back then.

But he’d had no time to marry.
He had no children or a wife.
Only barroom whores could carry
The burden of his kind of life.

Death would find him lonely,
Lying in a pauper’s bed.
Unless he took the only
Proper end for the life he’d led.

There were out there still a few
Who would like to claim his hair.
So he challenged those he knew
To come and face him there.

And down the red clay street he saw,
Bordered by crowds on either side,
Forty paces more until the draw,
‘Til people saw how a real man died.

He drew but did not fire,
Stood and waited for the lead to bite
Aimed his Colt pistol higher
To show Death a warrior’s spite.

Those who killed him were forgotten,
But the shootist’s legend lives.
What he sought, he had gotten.
He died grateful for what life gives.

____________________________________________

THE STORM
By Carl Martin Johnson

I defy your fiery spears.
Launch them and I will stand.
The screams of your wind incite no fears.
I will live as I have planned.

My face ignores your stinging rain.
I shrug aside your cold.
Your thunderheads I too disdain,
Be they dark and towering bold.

Your equal, no, that may be true.
I am mortal, not divine.
But you made me, made me free.
In me there is much of you.

So call back your terror, make me a friend.
Have my strong sword on your side.
If you truly wish to put an end
To the evil this world hides.

____________________________________________

A CHILD’S DEATH
By Carl Martin Johnson

An angel held his hand
As he rose into the sky.
He did not yet understand
What it was to die.

The fear had passed so quickly
That he could not now recall.
And the mist that rose so thickly
Was now not there at all.

A glance behind to mother’s love
For a moment caused him pain.
But he would see her from above
Until they were joined again.

His coming made the angels smile
While they gathered soft around.
He had left an earthly world,
But a better one he found.

____________________________________________

THE TEAR
By Carl Martin Johnson
 
The sights lined up, the target clear,
Trigger finger squeezing slow,
Until a single, shiny tear
Rolled down to the dust below.

He thought about the man ahead,
The man he meant to kill.
Still living, but in a moment dead.
And his soul went cold and still.

If he fired the round a life would end
A mother lose her son,
A wife her love, a man his friend.
It could not be undone.

His cause was just, he came to fight.
He’d killed many on his way.
And though he knew his war was right,
He would not kill today.

____________________________________________

HOPE
By Carl Martin Johnson

He looked up at the sky
Pale blue overhead.
Maybe he was not to die.
At least he was not dead.

The blow that had felled him
Left him shocked and in pain.
His wits would return, his agony dim.
He would rise to fight again.

He was down, not defeated.
Hope swelled his heart.
The day was not completed.
He could yet do his part.

As he rose to his feet,
His antagonist frowned.
This bruised man could meet
His best, he had found.

The man’s head held high.
Yes, bloody, but unbowed.
Not today would he die
For the ravenous crowd.

____________________________________________

TELL ME YOUR TROUBLES
By Carl Martin Johnson

Tell me your troubles.
Open your heart.
Lest your heartache doubles,
And tears you apart.

My shoulders are wide.
I can carry the weight.
I see that you’ve cried,
But it’s still not too late.

The world can be hard.
I’ve known sadness, too.
Let’s not let us be scarred,
From what we’ve been through.

I will always be your friend.
You will never be alone.
From today ‘til the end,
Your troubles are my own.

____________________________________________

EN GRAND SEIGNEUR
By Carl Martin Johnson

I would rather be a river than a stream.
My massive current roaring to the sea.
Held by Man and Nature in esteem,
My power surging for the world to see.

I choose lightning over thunder.
Thunder, after all, is only noise.
It is lightning’s explosion makes Man wonder
At the terrible flash of Odin’s toys.

I elect a mountain, not a hill.
Majestic peaks towering with snow.
Home of gods who impose their will
On the denizens of the land below.

I would be hurricane not breeze.
I would move oceans and lay waste land.
Flatten all that resisted me with ease.
A force almost nothing could withstand.

Rather than god, I will be Man.
From Man to god I will grow.
It is by my own strength that I can.
And cause my Father’s heart to glow.

____________________________________________

 

STARBURST
By Carl Martin Johnson

I will give to you a starburst.
Touch my love and feel its fire.
I will slake your body’s thirst.
I will satisfy your desire.

Close your eyes and come with me.
Visit magic lands.
From your inhibitions I’ll tear you free,
With my lips and with my hands.

Ecstasy will flood your being,
Forbidden places be engorged,
All restraint sent quickly fleeing.
Our bodies union in passion forged.

Lie back now in abandon sweet.
Devour the pleasure love can give.
Make your taste of life complete.
We have only this once to live.

____________________________________________

 

A NEW LIFE
By Carl Martin Johnson

In a moment, I will sleep.
In a fine place, warm and deep.

When my eyes open once again,
I pray a new life will begin.

 

____________________________________________


LOVE LUST
By Carl Martin Johnson
 
Will I find your sweet face hidden
Beneath the painted mask of lust?
Will you come to me unbidden?
Or will I have to earn your trust?

I often feel you near me.
Feel your presence in a kiss.
Is it that you fear me?
Is there some secret that I miss?

I do enjoy the pleasure
The god Eros grants to me.
And hot passion is a treasure
Great as any gift can be.

My loins have oft been sated,
My lust satisfied, and more.
Still, my desire is unabated
For the reward that lies in store.

I sense you gently flowing,
Coming to me in my dreams.
Will my lust for love’s sweet knowing,
Be quenched in your amorous streams?

____________________________________________

 

ILLUSION
By Carl Martin Johnson

Could my life be an illusion?
Are things not as they seem?
Are my days simply delusion?
Are my nights all just a dream?

I lie still and hear my heart beat
In a rhythm long and deep,
Marching me to a fate I must meet,
To an appointment I must keep.

All save that is hallucination.
From the gods..a spell they cast.
A trick on my imagination
To make the years go past.

Or could I bear the empty waiting
Until the day I hear the call?
Would I go insane anticipating
That which awaits us all?

In the end, will I awaken?
Will I take my first true breath?
Will I forgive the time it has taken
To find my life begins with death?

____________________________________________

 

MY PASSION REFINED
By Carl Martin Johnson

I loved often as a young man,
Sowing seeds in many fields.
My passion driving as only youth’s can,
Many courtings, many yields.

Now my passion is refined.
Simple lust will no longer do.
It must be closely intertwined
With a love I know is true.

____________________________________________